Southern California Program

Grant Abstracts 2019

Zimmer Children's Museum

Arts and Culture
Los Angeles, CA
$250,000
June 2019

Founded in 1991, the Zimmer Children’s Museum is one of only three children’s museums in Los Angeles County.  Its location on the ground floor of a mid-Wilshire district office building presented many challenges for visitors, including limited weekend and holiday hours, parking restrictions, and inadequate physical space for children and families to interact with exhibits and one another.  After several years of planning, the organization is moving to the Santa Monica Place mall where it is opening a 21,000 square-foot museum named the Cayton Children’s Museum this summer.  While all ages will be served, exhibits will cater to children ages 0-10.  They will be organized by five thematic areas, invite discovery, and teach children about universal values such as respect, responsibility, and sharing.  The facility will also feature an art studio, theater, and multipurpose rooms, and accommodate as many as 250,000 visitors annually.  A W. M. Keck Foundation grant will help support exhibit design and fabrication as part of the capital campaign.

Center for Strategic Partnerships

Civic and Community
Los Angeles, CA
$225,000
June 2019

The Center for Strategic Partnerships (the Center) was established in 2015 by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors (BOS) and local foundations as a pilot project to facilitate public/private collaborations to support vulnerable children and families.  Based on the pilot’s success, the BOS approved the Center as a permanent entity within the County in 2018.  Southern California Grantmakers is serving as the fiscal sponsor.  A three-year grant from the W. M. Keck Foundation will support the next phase of the Center’s work related to child protection.  Center staff and consultants will work with County departments and community based providers to fully implement a new county-wide home visiting system that will serve nearly half of the 32,000 families at highest risk for child abuse or neglect.  They will also focus on partnering with foster family agencies and faith communities to develop a comprehensive system to recruit and retain families in coordination with the County to meet the specific needs of foster children.  Because of a shortage of appropriate homes, too often children cycle through short-term shelters, languish in groups homes and experience multiple placements contributing to poor outcomes.  Pilot projects will be developed to test innovative ideas that can be scaled by the public sector.

Children's Defense Fund - California

Civic and Community
Los Angeles, CA
$300,000
June 2019

Children’s Defense Fund – California (CDF-CA) has been at the forefront of efforts to improve the well-being of youth involved in Los Angeles County’s juvenile justice system.  Since 2016, it has been the lead agency in building a coalition and other partnerships with community-based advocacy and organizing groups that have combined efforts to pursue critically needed reforms.  Specific goals have been established that include:  reducing youth contact with law enforcement; shrinking the probation system and its budget while also ensuring better outcomes for youth who remain involved; reinvesting funds in an expanded youth diversion and development system; and, increasing participation in probation and other juvenile justice oversight bodies.  A two-year W. M. Keck Foundation grant will support CDF-CA’s work to advance these goals through coalition building and training, research, and policy recommendations.  As many as 11,000 Los Angeles youth each year could be diverted prior to arrest and instead be directed to a community-based system of supports that builds on their strengths and develops competencies and connections they need for life and work.

Executive Service Corps of Southern California

Civic and Community
Los Angeles, CA
$225,000
June 2019

Executive Service Corps of Southern California (ESC) deploys trained executive-level professionals as volunteers to provide affordable coaching and consulting to nonprofits in the greater Los Angeles area.  In 2018, ESC facilitated 180 projects for 136 organizations, helping them strengthen their staff leadership and boards, adopt strategic goals aligned to their missions, diversify their fundraising, and respond to other organizational challenges and opportunities.  Demand for its services is increasing and its clients’ needs have become more complex.  A three year W. M. Keck Foundation grant will allow ESC to hire additional staff and adopt new technology tools to increase its operational efficiency, expand the number of nonprofits served, and take on more complex projects that deal with multiple functional areas in those organizations.

Imagine LA

Civic and Community
Los Angeles, CA
$225,000
June 2019

Imagine LA (ILA) is dedicated to ending the cycle of poverty and family homelessness.  Its Family Empowerment and Mentorship (FEM) program uniquely combines intensive case management, individualized mentorship, financial wellness/workforce development coaching, and linkages to public and private resources.  Master’s level social workers partner with newly housed families to help them stabilize, set goals, and access community resources to address the complex issues they face.  Simultaneously, ILA staff recruits volunteer mentors (one for each member of a family over age five, and a financial wellness mentor for the head-of-household) and guides them in building nurturing relationships with their mentees to help them achieve their goals.  A two-year W. M. Keck Foundation grant is supporting ILA’s recruiting 225 mentors for 75 families to further embed its FEM program in South Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley, and launch in West Los Angeles.  It is expected that these and other ILA families will remain housed and that of the heads of households, 65% will be on solid school or workforce pathways, and 50% will increase their earned income.

Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles

Civic and Community
Los Angeles, CA
$150,000
June 2019

Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles (JBBBSLA) provides mentoring, camp experiences, college guidance, and scholarships for vulnerable youth.  To address the social, emotional and academic stressors many teenagers face, the agency has developed a smartphone application for the iPhone called Teen Talk that is designed for teens to seek advice from other teens.  Volunteer teen advisors go through a rigorous application process, are trained to respond empathetically, and are supervised by mental health clinicians.  Nearly 13,000 iPhone users downloaded the Teen Talk app during the pilot year and the numbers posting a question or concern increased throughout the pilot.  A three-year W. M. Keck Foundation grant will enable JBBBSLA to expand access to Teen Talk.  The agency will increase the number of teen advisors and the staff who train and supervise them and expand the hours of operation.  It will also develop the app for Android smartphones whose users tend to be from lower income families.  Based on usage during the pilot, JBBBSLA expects that the app will be downloaded 90,000 times during the grant period, providing teens with access to emotional support that can prevent an issue from becoming a crisis.  The advisors will also benefit from the experience by gaining compassion and empathy for their peers, learning about resources, and feeling more comfortable helping someone who is struggling.

Long Beach Public Library

Civic and Community
Long Beach, CA
$100,000
June 2019

The Long Beach Public Library is the second largest library system in Los Angeles County and serves more than one million patrons annually.  As part of rebuilding the Long Beach Civic Center, a new, 93,000-square-foot Main Library is being constructed to anchor a revitalized plaza that will also feature a new park and city hall facility.  The Long Beach Public Library Foundation is raising funds to help enhance specialized programmatic spaces.  These include an expanded Family Learning Center, an engaging children’s library, the Studio where visitors of all ages can participate in STEM workshops utilizing cutting-edge technologies, and a Center for Adaptive Technology to address the needs of individuals with disabilities.  A W. M. Keck Foundation grant will support furnishings and equipment for the Children’s Library.  Over 3,000 students will receive one-on-one academic assistance through the Family Learning Center and more than 2,500 students will learn science and engineering skills through workshops offered through the Studio.

SLATE-Z

Civic and Community
Los Angeles, CA
$300,000
June 2019

The South Los Angeles Transit Empowerment Zone (SLATE-Z) is a collaborative initiative of civic, business, and community leaders whose mission is to revitalize South LA by moving residents to economic opportunity.  The zone is five miles wide from Crenshaw Boulevard to Central Avenue, roughly framed by the Crenshaw, Expo, and Blue Line light rail systems.  Community Partners serves as the fiscal agent for the initiative, which is led by Los Angeles Trade Technical College (LATTC) and governed by a 23-member Steering Committee.  SLATE Z’s 55 cross-sector partners came together to design a resident-informed plan that established five goals related to jobs, economic activity, education, safety, and transit.  In 2016, SLATE-Z was awarded a federal Promise Zone designation to implement the plan over ten years.  A three-year W. M. Keck Foundation grant will support the hiring of a program manager to “turbocharge” SLATE-Z’s programmatic impact and manage the work groups, each of which focuses on a goal area.  Over the next three years, through collaboration and leveraging direct service funding, the expectation is that 2,400 youth will be hired for summer jobs, 3,900 youth will be on a career pathway leading to post-secondary certificates and degrees, and 3,500 residents will be connected to living wage jobs.

Southern California Public Radio

Civic and Community
Pasadena, CA
$350,000
June 2019

Southern California Public Radio station KPCC plans to increase the impact of its local public service by expanding its investigative unit from one journalist to a team of five full-time, dedicated investigative journalists.  Independent, fact-based investigative news at the local level is important to provide access to information that helps families make decisions and holds institutions and leaders accountable.  Studies indicate that across political divides a great majority of Americans still trust local news sources and demonstrate a direct link between local news consumption and civic engagement.  Yet today there are fewer than a dozen local full-time investigative reporters in metropolitan Los Angeles, which has countless institutions including more than 88 city governments and the nation’s second-largest school district.  A two-year W. M. Keck Foundation grant will help KPCC build out its investigative team by supporting a senior editor and a second investigative reporter.

Orthopaedic Institute for Children

Health Care
Los Angeles, CA
$400,000
June 2019

Founded in 1911, the Orthopaedic Institute for Children (OIC) provides care for patients with musculoskeletal disorders regardless of ability to pay and advances treatment through education, training, and research.  In 2018, OIC provided care in 21 subspecialties to 22,000 children and youth.  The Urgent Care Center (UCC), located at OIC’s main campus just south of downtown Los Angeles, has reached capacity.  To meet the growing demand for urgent care and deliver improved trauma care services to a greater number of children, OIC is building a new state of the-art UCC as part of reconstructing an aging medical facility on the campus.  A W. M. Keck Foundation grant will help support construction of the UCC, which will be co located with related clinical services and designed to accommodate an increased demand and provide more comfort and privacy for families.  The new UCC will provide services to 26,000 low-income, underinsured and uninsured children annually providing them with timely, expert and specialized orthopaedic attention.

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